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The Matchplay gets under-way on Saturday. Our preview looks at why we argue this is the toughest tournament to win, an artist who was concerned about his sight and players making a spectacle of themselves as they try to hit the winning double!

The Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay A Preview

Posted: 11.07.11 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

The Matchplay gets under-way on Saturday. Our preview looks at why we argue this is the toughest tournament to win, an artist who was concerned about his sight and players making a spectacle of themselves as they try to hit the winning double!

Sky Bet has acquired the sponsorship rights from longstanding hosts Stan James. The event will take place as ever at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool in the stunning Empress Ballroom. A venue fit for such a prestigious event.

Arguably the World Matchplay is the event of the darting calendar that is the toughest to win. Some of the tournaments on the tour have a complex array of qualification criteria, some of which we have discussed before, such as last season’s Grand Slam. There is nothing complex (well once you have found your way around the PDC dual order of merit system) about qualifying for the Matchplay, it is the top 32 players in the PDC taking part.

The top 16 of the two year PDC Order of Merit qualify as do (and this is where the argument about the Matchplay being the toughest to win has its origins) the top 16 of the PDC Players Championships Order of Merit. In other words the dart players competing are currently in the best form on the circuit. There are no "easy" warm up games as there are in the Worlds, the top 32 are head to head from the first match.

So what is in it for The Darts Performance Centre? The form of Phil Taylor will of course be scrutinised by everyone. The Power has been written off several times over the past couple of years and after The Premier League and going out to Nicholson in the Speedy Hire UK Open he will be determined to pop the “business as usual” sign back up. However, he is up against Red Dragon's latest signing Mark Hylton and despite his singular throwing style Hylton will surely give The Power more of a game than the sponsor's prediciton of Taylor still odds on to win even with giving "Mile High" a  five and a half leg start!

“The Artist” has had laser eye surgery; following a discussion with Paul Nicholson who also had the surgery performed which saw his form rise dramatically. We shouldn’t be surprised about the correlation between a dart player being able to see the target they are aiming for and then hitting it more consistently. If we were discussing archery or pistol shooting it would be taken for granted. We have advocated the need for players to align their eye, dart and target in several of our coaching blogs, it’s just getting players to do it which is the tough bit! That aside we support any player making use of 21st century technology to assist in their performance improvement.

Finally each match of course has to be won by two clear legs! This tickles our fancy! In recent tournaments we have seen some nail-biting climaxes to matches with some players even packing away their darts so convinced that they had blown their chance. Anderson for example packed his darts away recently only to have to get them out again, grinning (and relaxed) he came back onto the oche and hit the winning dart!

We may witness similar see-saw ends to matches as the score in the first round for example gets to 9:9, then one player will get to 10 but is still one leg away from winning and the nerves kick-in as they push to get over the winning line.  Just like the "doubles in" tournament in Dublin a slight tweak from the norm can have some dramatic side effects for some players. 

It should be quite a spectacle!

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The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. We are also committed to researching all aspects of darts to provide players with information and solutions that most other sports take for granted. Please support us by joining today.Membership is £25.00 per annum.

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Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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